Parrots and Parenting

We recently became zoo members. In watching our kids’ enjoyment on our last few visits, I wish we had become members years ago! It’s not uncommon for us to leave church on Sunday, grab a quick lunch and head to the zoo for an afternoon stroll.  We’ve done this a handful of times in recent months and try to enjoy different parts of the zoo each visit.

It’s a rather perfect environment for our wild and crazy family because the kids can run relatively free and we don’t have to worry about them running away, being abducted or fret over potential mass casualties from their routine destruction. It’s educational, keeps their interest and sometimes keeps them occupied enough to allow me to have a conversation with my husband.

The zoo can be a magical place.

This Sunday was a zoo day. We chose to have lunch at Qdoba which is one of our favorite places to eat with the kiddos. The restaurant is busy enough with conversation that we don’t worry about the volume of the kids. Which is always LOUD. The owners and staff are friendly and treat us with incredible kindness, which is no small feat given the fact that they contend with the aftermath of our dining experience.

Think ‘two to three pounds of food dropped under each chair’ kind of aftermath.

Today was no exception. The kids were unruly and spent much of the lunch telling me they did want sour cream, didn’t want sour cream, did like beans, hated beans, needed more water, were sorry they spilled their water and didn’t really want to eat anything besides tortilla chips.

Thad has also picked up a really cool habit where he gags himself with his fingers during mealtime. I’m awaiting a Porky’s experience (click here to read about that joyful night ) of my own really soon.

The kids asked us no less than 300 times if we were going to the zoo.  They asked so many times that I finally broke down and growled, “This IS the zoo. WE ARE THE ZOO!”

Somehow I don’t think they appreciated my humor.

Alas, we made it through the lunch and headed towards the zoo. When we arrived at 1:39 pm we were greeted with a sign that informed us that doors had closed at 1 pm. Apparently I failed to remember this time of year brings Boo at the Zoo and set up time is required for this event.

As we pulled away I was met with 300 more complaints all centering around the basic question of “why don’t we get to go to the zoo?” More focused questions sounded like, “How come those people are still in the zoo?” More whiny questions came out as, “It’s not FAAAIIIIIRRRRR. How come we can’t go to the Boo at the Zoo?”

And suddenly I remembered this sweet bird I photographed on our last zoo visit. Actually, there were two birds……but I experienced a soul-level bond with one in particular.  I haven’t confirmed their history with zoo officials….but I am confident it goes something like this:

This is Polly the Parrot.  She is in her late 20’s.  She enjoys sleeping in, working out and watching whatever she wants on the old zoo boob tube. She has no desire to settle down and prefers the low key life of a single bird. She is glorious in appearance, grooming herself out of habit more than necessity. She is a splendid bird.


This is Red Bird. She is 38, married and has four kids.  She used to be a nice, normal parrot until her kids kept asking her questions. Repeatedly. And then some more.

At one point in her life she had time to concern herself over her appearance but finally gave up when she realized gray hairs were overwhelming her  blonde hairs red feathers. Now she spends her days pulling out a feather for each repeated question from her offspring.

The zoo has signs posted in no less than fifty spots NOT to feed the animals. But I’m thinking that on my next visit Ol’ Red Bird deserves some Godiva.

And a Girls’ Weekend.

As a sidenote, our kids informed us at dinner tonight that they’d like another pet.

A parrot to be exact.

I can picture the bird now…..



Signing off from the zoo,


8 thoughts on “Parrots and Parenting

  1. Hang in there, Red Bird!! Your family is making wonderful memories for a lot of folks. No one could make up stories as good as your true ones! Please keep ’em comin’.

  2. Thank you! I am not the only mom out there who has these thoughts. I ? my kids, but feel like the featherless bird almost all the time! Except on those rare days when I am out on the motorcycle. No place for the kids on it!!! ?

  3. Pingback: Spring Breakin’ – TickingTimeMom

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